04 April 2009

Armageddon '09

I spent most of today at the Armageddon Expo at Wellington's TSB Arena. It opened at 9, but Shane and I got there around 7:45 (with Eric showing up around 8).  The queue wasn't very long when we got there, but grew in the 30 minutes before opening. 

About 20 minutes before opening, the lines were split into two: one for those who already had their tickets, and those who had pre-ordered but not received their tickets or (like us) were buying their tickets at the door.

Of course, the doors opened, and line #1 head straight in. But the Ticketek computers weren't cooperating, so we were in line for another 20-odd minutes. None of the staff seemed to know what was going on, or how to fix it, or what to do in the meantime for the hundreds of people queuing up out the door waiting to give them money. Honestly, I've seen traffic jams that were better organised.

Eventually -- about 30 minutes after the doors were opened -- we got into the hall (and we were near the front of the queue). This was my first time at Armageddon, and I have to see, first impressions weren't too good. Several big names weren't there -- like Weta Studios, or Sony Playstation -- and the rest just felt like a third-rate country fair.

We wandered around a bit -- Shane and Eric buying DVDs, and me being very unimpressed. There were a couple of things that looked nice -- a miniature X-wing pilot's helmet, but at $129, it was a bit too expensive -- and the 501st Legion (Outpost 42) representatives looked impressive (Stormtroopers, Boba Fett, and a rather portly Garindan), although stormies with female breastplates are less impressive than the Emperor would possibly hope (at least the one I saw didn't have an exposed midriff).

Of course, being a pulp expo, there were plenty of people dressed in costumes. The influence of the new movie Twilight was evident: lots of teenage girls dressed as vampires, although somehow I doubt that vampires have problems with acne.

The only reason I had gone to Armageddon was for the guest stars, specifically, Peter Davison and Mark Strickson who had played the Fifth Doctor and Turlough (one of the Fifth Doctor's companions) on Doctor Who. To quote David Tennant in Time Crash, Peter Davison was "my Doctor" -- the only one who I remember from his first appearance in Castrovalva to his final one in Caves of Androzani. Both gave very interesting talks, recounting stories from their time on the show, as well as what they're up to now, and was worth the price of admission all on their own.

Overall, though, Armageddon was disappointing: poorly organised, short on big-card draws (apart from Davison and Strickson). Unless another Doctor or Companion turns up next year (or somebody just as interesting, like Peter Molyneux), I won't be going again.

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